Books, Writing

The Reader’s Heart — It Wants Too Much

 

The weather is finally starting to warm up (sort of), and I’ve already been blinded by my first deathly pale, well-fed belly of the season (sadly, true).

These two indicators, along with the increased unruliness of school-aged children everywhere, all mean one thing: The final movie of the Harry Potter franchise will soon be in theaters!

Oh, and it’s also almost summer.

My bloggy friend, Maura, (from 36X37) recently mentioned her excitement about this upcoming cinematic event. She said, “Iwant to see it right now this very instant…and yet I don’t want it all to end…The reader’s heart, it wants too much.”

Her words summed up exactly what many Harry followers are currently feeling. (Please note, these are not to be confused with “hairy” followers, though there may be some crossover.) Even though we’re talking movies here, it’s still the reader’s heart that drives these mixed emotions. Though we raced through the pages, we never wanted to reach “The End.”

The Harry Potter movies were able to ease our bookish discontent, and became the substitute for our readerly desires. And, now, there’s only one new movie to go.

Please forgive me while I go weep in my corner.

This is the daily plight of those who are readers — true readers — they are never fully satisfied. A brilliantly-written story that takes us to literary ecstasy and back again makes us happy to be alive and kicking. And reading.  

What a fantastic book, we think.

But, then, I wish it wasn’t over.

Sometimes, we can carry on by reading other works by the same author. Or even books that are “In the tradition of–” fill in the famous name (though they rarely measure up). But what to do when we’ve read and re-read these works again and again?

Fortunately, there are always new books coming out. The reader’s heart never stops yearning, always hunting for that sparkling gem which may cause it to beat in strange and wonderful rhythms.

Though loyal, we’re a demanding bunch. So, what exactly does the reader’s heart want? Well, only…

  • That a book make us laugh, but not be trying too hard.
  • That the line separating sentimental and sappy is never crossed.
  • That every word and every sentence proves swoon-worthy.
  • That the plot be exciting, or off-the-wall surprising, and still be believable.
  • That mega-hyped books will actually deliver.
  • That brilliant un-hyped books will find their audience.
  • That we discover the story that will change our lives forever.
  • That we recommend the story that will change someone else’s life forever.
  • That the next book we pick up will be our new favorite.

Yes, I know. It’s a bit much.

But we deserve it.

***********

What does your reader’s heart desire? More Harry Potter? A different ending to a popular book? A story that hasn’t yet been written? Lurkers and regulars, please share. Happy reading!

(And, Happy Mother’s Day to my mama readers!)

Find me on Twitter @amandahoving

47 thoughts on “The Reader’s Heart — It Wants Too Much”

  1. FYI — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II comes out on July 15th.

    Here are two of my heart’s more specific desires: That Wuthering Heights would have a likeable character, and that the Little House series would have had a book detailing the time when the youngest (a boy) was alive.

    Please feel free to share your itemized list as well. Thank you!

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  2. Oh, that maddening phrase that “all good things must come to an end.” We anxiously long for those conclusions. I think the older I get, the more I appreciate a book or something else that grabs me in that way and stirs the conflict inside. I really like this post.

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  3. Wonderful post. This is why series books are such a hit, I think. And why it’s so frustrating when the next one isn’t out yet. Just found out there’s a new Mary Russell mystery (Laurie R. King) where Mary & Holmes get into the silent-film industry. AND I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER!

    That feeling. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Becky!

      I know what you mean about series — I feel a knot in my stomach when I finish one, and know there is a year or more to wait. My sister solves this problem by only reading series when all of the books are out. I don’t have this kind of self-control.

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  4. I actually go through a short period of mourning after a good book (usually much longer for the Harry Potter books), during which I feel quite lost, but I can’t bring myself to start another book just yet.

    I will be in line with all of the die-hards on opening day for the last Harry Potter movie, although I have never been in costume… maybe this time? I could get many uses out of a Hogwarts robe, right?

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    1. A robe is worth it, Amy! Ours gets worn on a daily, er, I mean, monthly basis. (That still sounds bad, doesn’t it?)

      Yes, there’s definitely a book-mourning period for me, too. But, I usually grab an old favorite right away to fill it.

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  5. So timely! Just watched “Lost in Austen” last night (and blogged about it!) about a modern-day woman being transported into Pride&Prejudice. It made me think of this same thing: how we can want so much to be part of what we read! That we actually want to be IN the book! That movie and your blog today made me remember all the times I didn’t want a book to end. I remember when I was a lot younger, I actually used to write more about the characters when I finished a book. It’s very hard to say goodbye, so I know exactly what you mean about Harry Potter!

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  6. Confession: I’ve not read one Harry Potter book, nor have I seen one Harry Potter movie (although I did see the scene in the first one where they are playing a game where they chase a golden snitch…I think it’s a snitch). I know, I know; swoon in horror.

    My reader’s heart desires that no more celebrity books that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on will ever be released; that all best-seller’s are actually well written; that my confidence in the goodness of man be restored; that my confidence in the goodness of man be irretrievably crushed; that movies made from books will be as good as the books and faithful to the big ideas (if not the small details); that my friends will suddenly love to read and join my upcoming book club, and; that I can read more books that make me tremble at the thought that I’ll ever be able to write anything better…then pick up my pen and get to it. 😀

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  7. Dear Daughter…What a lovely post. This older woman’s heart wants exactly what your younger heart wants from a book! I’ll be on my way to the library soon to gather books requested which are finally ready for pick up; my heart beats faster at the thought of what I might find in their pages, hoping my eager expectations are met. May one of your Mother’s Day gifts be some quiet time to read. Love you, Mama

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  8. Yes, it’s difficult letting go of Harry Potter. I have put off finishing the book because of it. I have discovered the Falvia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley. Perhaps these will help ease me away from Harry Potter.

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  9. Wow, I feel the same way. I recently bought like 10 new books I’m dieing to read, but the anticipation is part of the excitement. I love seeing their bindings on my bookshelf and each day I change my mind over which one’s next. lol. Eventually, I’ll read them all!

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    1. P.S. Don’t judge, but I’m excited for the Twilight film too. It’s a cute love story and I always go with my best girl friends! 🙂

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  10. My reader’s heart wants a book that leaves me thinking about its characters long after I’ve finished reading, even searching for them in the shadows when I’m scurrying along a busy sidewalk (I love those kinds of books!).

    And, I do wish Cold Mountain had a different ending. I read that book out loud with my husband. When it came time to read the words of the last chapter, I didn’t want to do it.

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    1. I love that you read aloud with your husband! I may need to try that. I may also need to tie my husband to the chair in order to do this.

      Yes, Christi — I adore those books that keep tugging at you.

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  11. I sometimes wish for the ability to reread a great book for the first time, so I can have the thrill of discovery all over again. Sometimes reading out loud to my family helps me appreciate the freshness of an old favorite. I enjoy sitting with fellow nerd friends and family and rehashing all of the Potter books and comparing the books with the movies.

    Regarding another series, I wish that the 13th book of A Series of Unfortunate Events had been different – I loved the whole series and then the last book was a huge disappointment – this seems to be the consensus opinion of all I know who read and loved the series. We wish the last book had never come out.

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  12. I loved, loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett…and to think it was her first novel. I wanted to read more, and still want to read more from her. There’s a rumor there may be a movie. Her Jackson, Mississippi resonated with my experience in a deep East Texas town where I spent my elementary years. I admired her courage and her characters’ courage. My post “Uncle George”, October 15, speaks to the climate of the South and the times from which my parents managed to shield me and my siblings. Great questions, great observations of what the heart of a reader wants. Again, thank you for asking!

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    1. Yes, the movie version of The Help comes out this summer. I’m sure it will be difficult for the movie to come close to the resonance the book had.

      For me a book is great when I look for every excuse to read it: in line at the bank, waiting for water to boil for tea, etc. The Help was one of those books for me.

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  13. Like 2blu, I haven’t read any Harry Potter books, nor seen the movies. Here I thought I was the only person missing out 😉

    I just want to have time to read a great story, with memorable characters, interesting dialogue and a happy, but believable, ending (while the kids vacuum the floors.)

    Is that too much to ask?

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    1. You are very much deserving, Janna.

      Every time I make such demands on the books I’m reading (wanting a great story, memorable characters, etc.) I think to myself, “well you better deliver all of that in your own writing.” And then I start to sweat. 😉

      Good luck with the vacuuming!

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  14. My reader’s heart desires:

    That J.K. Rowling would write more Harry Potter books, but then I realize that there’s no more story to tell. 😥

    That the Tolkien universe existed in real life!

    That movie adaptations of Stephen King novels/short stories would be exactly as I imagined in my mind when I read them.

    That someone would write a Star Trek novel that isn’t cheesy or badly written! 😛

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  15. I read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series books and enjoyed them, but I was glad to learn that she had also written a more adult-oriented novel. The Host is an amazing and thought-provoking book that I could, and probably will, read again.

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    1. I know many teens and adults who could barely breathe for waiting for those Twilight books to come out (and now, the movies). Though, I’m not a fan, I totally get it. Really. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Wanda!

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  16. I’m not a Harry Potter fan (don’t hurt me!), but I can so attest to the longing of never wanting a book to end. ‘I Capture the Castle’ by Dodie Smith was just like that. Although I read it when I was 15, I recently suggested it for a book club read, and the women were about to attack me because they loved it so much and there wasn’t a sequel.

    And thanks for the breakdown of why we love books, Amanda. It’s always a great reminder while we write them! : )

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  17. That I could find a way to give up on a book when I know it isn’t working for me, instead of reading to the bitter end, thus wasting time I could be spending on another book.

    That every book could be that book that you mourn when it’s over – so rare, so wonderful, when it happens.

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  18. I just finished Fragile Beasts by Tawni O’Dell. I miss the characters like you miss a good friend who moves out of town. I’m so glad you took the time to pop over and check out my blog because now I get to enjoy yours.

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  19. I always wanted a different ending to The Great Gatsby. Or if not a different ending, at least a couple extra chapters in the middle that would make Gatsby and Daisy’s romance seem to last longer and be worth more in comparison to how long he waited.

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  20. What a great post, Amanda. It’s so true the irony of searching until you find the book that meets all your expectations, racing for the ending because you just can’t get enough, but then putting on the brakes because you simply DO NOT want it to end. That, indeed, is the sign of a great book. I read a lot of current literary fiction and realize I am rarely happy with the ending when I finish a novel. Then I convince myself over the next few weeks that the ending was PERFECT. So maybe that is the point of literary fiction (one of them) … to not wrap up the ending in a tidy bow, to make you think, to make you contemplate and reconsider, to leave room for possibilities in the reader’s mind. For some reason, I keep coming back for more, so in some twisted way, I must like the unfulfilling/unclear/not-always-happy endings of lit fiction to a degree :-).

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